Thursday, 21 September 2023
The Gaelic 'Aird Molach' means the scrubby height, which is the perfect description for these rocky wooded hills. Exploring the trails here gives you a taste of Loch Moidart's drama, beauty and remoteness.
Meander through mature conifer woodland out onto a rocky hillside with wonderful views across Loch Moidart to the distant islands of Rùm, Muck and Eigg. These woods are home to noisy flocks of crossbills, coal tits and goldcrests. If you’re very lucky, there’s a chance you may see a golden eagle soaring overhead.
You'll also notice that fast-growing conifers are slowly being replaced at Ardmolich by deciduous native trees like oak, birch and rowan. Oakwoods once grew thickly here and all along the Atlantic coast from Norway to Spain and Portugal. Fragments of these rare and important ancient woodlands have survived across Sunart and a major conservation programme has helped to conserve and restore this gorgeous environment.
The road winds through the small settlements of Ardmolich and Kinlochmoidart at the head of the loch. Beside the road just north of Kinlochmoidart, you'll see three large beech trees in a row. These are the last of 'The Seven Men of Moidart', seven beech trees planted over 200 years ago to commemorate Bonnie Prince Charlie's seven companions, who travelled with him from France in 1745. The Prince raised his standard at Glenfinnan in a dramatic act that began the uprising known as the Second Jacobite Rebellion.
The Armolich Trail is currently diverted via the informal 'Silver Walk Path' to allow forestry work to take place.This path is more strenuous than the existing trail, so may not be suitable for all.
Climb through spruce forest and oak woodland to a rugged hilltop with panoramic views over Loch Moidart to the Isles of Eigg and Rum.
Several long steep slopes for up to 400m. Sections of rough grassy paths with muddy areas. Includes some steps and a stile.
Allow 1½ hours
It's a stiff clamber up through the mixed woodland on this trail but you are very well rewarded for your efforts. There are tantalising glimpses of Loch Moidart as you go and, at the top, a bench on a rocky knoll where you can rest and take in the stupendous views down the narrow loch to the islands beyond.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can extend this trail along the 'Silver Walk'. This longer, mainly low level path leads to Castle Tioram (pronounced Cheerum), which stands on an island in a beautiful bay at the mouth of the loch. The castle is private but you can walk across to the island when the tide is out.
You'll find public toilets, refreshments and shops at Acharacle, a few miles south of Ardmolich.
There is no charge to park in this car park. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates.
The small car park at Ardmolich is easy to spot on the west side of the A861, 2 miles south of the village of Kinlochmoidart.
PH38 4ND is the nearest postcode.
There are daily buses (except Sunday) from Fort William to Lochailort and Acharacle, which pass through Ardmolich village. Find timetables at Traveline Scotland.
Ancient woodland leads to a peaceful natural harbour
A peaceful loch alive with water lilies and dragonflies